Yes. People in Washington commit the crime of “drive-by-shooting” if they fire a gun from a motor vehicle and the firing creates a risk of death or serious injury. The offense is a serious felony that could lead to 10 years behind bars. If you or a loved one is facing firearm related charges in Washington, please contact a criminal defense attorney now for help.
What is the Crime of Drive-by-Shooting?
RCW 9A.36.045 is the Washington statute that defines the offense of drive-by-shooting. People commit this offense when they:
- Recklessly shoot a firearm,
- Do so from a motor vehicle, or from the immediate area of a motor vehicle, which was used to carry the shooter to the scene of the shooting, and
- The shooting creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury.
As to the first element above, note that the law infers that people are acting recklessly if they shoot a firearm from a vehicle. A defendant, though, can present evidence to reject this inference.
What are the Penalties?
Drive-by-shooting is a Class B felony under Washington law (as opposed to a misdemeanor). The crime is punishable by:
- Custody in state prison for up to 10 years, and/or
- A maximum fine of $20,000.
Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?
Yes. People charged with drive-by-shooting can contest it with a legal defense. For example, defendants can show evidence that they were not acting recklessly. Accused persons can also try and show that they were acting in self-defense.
A criminal defense lawyer can also try to challenge an accusation by showing that the police violated one of the defendant’s constitutional rights. For example, maybe the authorities arrested a defendant without probable cause or coerced a confession. In these cases, a judge can dismiss or reduce any criminal charges because of the violation.
Contact Black & Askerov for Help
While a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge a drive-by-shooting charge, it will take a skilled criminal defense attorney to raise the best defense. The experienced attorneys at Black & Askerov have over 30 years of combined experience defending clients on various firearm and weapons charges. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers have the skill and commitment that makes all the difference in firearm cases. Our attorneys will fight tooth and nail for you at every step of your case. Contact us now to get the legal help you deserve!